ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Sunday that “friendly countries” were expected to materialize their commitments to Pakistan which would pave the way for Islamabad to finalize its loan revival deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) said in a report.
Earlier this month, Dar told Pakistani parliamentarians that Pakistan’s deal with the IMF is being delayed as the global lender wants assurances and commitments from “friendly countries” to fund its balance of payments gap to materialize.
Though the finance minister did not name the “friendly countries” specifically, it is understood that he was referring to Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). All three are close allies of Pakistan who have bailed come to its aid whenever Islamabad faces an economic crisis.
Pakistan has been struggling to revive a stalled loan program with the IMF which would unlock a tranche of $1.1 billion, crucial for the country to stave off a balance of payment crisis. The South Asian country’s reserves have dipped to historic lows over the past couple of months, as it desperately seeks external financing to pay off its debts and sustain its economy.
“Addressing as chief guest an Iftar dinner hosted by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in honor of foreign diplomats, Dar said that friendly countries were expected to materialize their commitments with Pakistan that would pave the way to close the deal with the IMF and revive the economy,” the APP said.
The finance minister said Pakistan “would not default,” adding that the government was doing its best to steer the country out of a “difficult situation” to ensure its sustainable growth.
While Pakistan desperately waits for the IMF to revive the stalled loan program, the South Asian country grapples with decades-high inflation and a deepening political crisis. Pakistan’s restrictions on imports — in its bid to prevent the outflow of dollars — have caused banks to delay or deny the opening of Letter of Credits (LCs) for the import of goods.